FORTUNA – Humboldt County leaders are shedding light on an issue that has many community members scared for themselves and their children.
Sheriff Honsal and 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass attended a meeting at the Multigenerational Center in Fortuna Wednesday regarding undocumented citizens and fears of mass deportation.
The nearly 75, mostly Hispanic attendees wanted clarity as to local law enforcement’s obligation to speak with ICE.
Often times during an emergency, local undocumented people are hesitant to call 911 because they are too scared of putting themselves and their families at risk for deportation.
The Sheriff wanted to make clear that ICE is only notified when someone is booked into the Humboldt County Jail, but even then. ICE still may not get involved unless the person is considered a dangerous felon.
“There’s people last night that were saying during this meeting that they were afraid to send their kids to school, they were afraid to go to the doctor, they were afraid to go out in public,” said Sheriff William Honsal, “They’re in fear that one day they are going to be gone or their kids are going to be gone. I can’t alleviate the fear of federal government coming, I can’t. But I want them to trust us and our local law enforcement. So if they need help, call us, because we’ll be there.”
In the last two years, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has only turned over two people to ICE – one was someone who possessed child pornography, and the other was a felon with a violent background.